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Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Great Read! What your history books left out about Harper's Ferry

For someone who has grown up in Pennsylvania, close to Gettysburg, and has visited numerous Civil War battlefields, a visit to Harper's Ferry seemed like a waste of time. Wow was I wrong. After having visited the small yet historically important town a number of times, ...
For someone who has grown up in Pennsylvania, close to Gettysburg, and has visited numerous Civil War battlefields, a visit to Harper's Ferry seemed like a waste of time. Wow was I wrong. After having visited the small yet historically important town a number of times, I was drawn toward this book as soon as it was released. How did the stars align for this one man with some family and friends to take over the U.S. Armory and thus stoke the fire that would shortly thereafter lead to the Civil War? John Brown does not get much attention in the history books and when he does, he is portrayed as an eccentric and lunatic. Yet what is rarely spoken of is that in the end of the day, he realized what America would come to realize. There would be no bloodless cease to slavery like in Britain, only a great struggle amongst brothers could ultimately destroy this wicked institution. No one really took the time to dig deep into his life and plot the points that led to his ultimate demise in 1859...until now. Mr. Horwitz does a phenomenal job of painting the picture of this deeply spiritual (Puritan and Calvinist leaning) man who ultimately become possessed by a mission, a mission to bring about the end of the great evil of American slavery. While misguided in implementation, his anger and cause were just. Having read this book, you will gain a new appreciation for what happened that fateful night in 1859 and how it was the impetus for southern succession and the Civil War which followed in 1861. Thank you Mr. Horwitz for reclaiming an oft forgotten, under-appreciated and misunderstand piece of American history. With it, we can now better understand this vitally significant time period in our nation's history.

posted by 8644655 on November 1, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

interesting but misleading

Recommend for serious civil war buffs only. skillfully recounts the events but unfortunately, casts John Brown in a heroic manner. It is especially upsetting when he compares Brown's violent treason with the peaceful succession of southern states. Perhaps, the author...
Recommend for serious civil war buffs only. skillfully recounts the events but unfortunately, casts John Brown in a heroic manner. It is especially upsetting when he compares Brown's violent treason with the peaceful succession of southern states. Perhaps, the author is now writing a book extolling the noble heroism of Osama Bin Laden.

posted by 18092843 on October 3, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    Great Read! What your history books left out about Harper's Ferry

    For someone who has grown up in Pennsylvania, close to Gettysburg, and has visited numerous Civil War battlefields, a visit to Harper's Ferry seemed like a waste of time. Wow was I wrong. After having visited the small yet historically important town a number of times, I was drawn toward this book as soon as it was released. How did the stars align for this one man with some family and friends to take over the U.S. Armory and thus stoke the fire that would shortly thereafter lead to the Civil War? John Brown does not get much attention in the history books and when he does, he is portrayed as an eccentric and lunatic. Yet what is rarely spoken of is that in the end of the day, he realized what America would come to realize. There would be no bloodless cease to slavery like in Britain, only a great struggle amongst brothers could ultimately destroy this wicked institution. No one really took the time to dig deep into his life and plot the points that led to his ultimate demise in 1859...until now. Mr. Horwitz does a phenomenal job of painting the picture of this deeply spiritual (Puritan and Calvinist leaning) man who ultimately become possessed by a mission, a mission to bring about the end of the great evil of American slavery. While misguided in implementation, his anger and cause were just. Having read this book, you will gain a new appreciation for what happened that fateful night in 1859 and how it was the impetus for southern succession and the Civil War which followed in 1861. Thank you Mr. Horwitz for reclaiming an oft forgotten, under-appreciated and misunderstand piece of American history. With it, we can now better understand this vitally significant time period in our nation's history.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great Insight Into A Seminal American Moment

    Painstakingly researched, Midnight Rising is Tony Horowitz's account of John Brown and the raid at Harper's Ferry. Militarily, this was a small operation, but most people have heard of it. What makes it so important? Horowitz explains the country's environment and ambiance at the time which made this such an explosive event.

    Tensions ran high in the country. The Abolitionists were convinced that slavery was an abomination; one that there was no action too desperate to try to eradicate. Those who owned slaves were convinced that without slavery their entire economic world would collapse. As always, when there are two such diametrically opposed viewpoints, tensions ran high and extremists on both sides were willing to take drastic actions to further their beliefs.

    Horowitz examines the life and philosophy of John Brown, a figure that most recognize but few know much about. He covers Brown's early life and his start as an Abolitionist vigilant in Kansas, the place that gave him his reputation as a bloody yet effective leader. A staunch Abolitionist, he was willing to sacrifice his livelihood, his family and the lives of others as well as his own to further his beliefs. The result of Harper's Ferry, which stunned the nation, was to move the country even closer to the brink of the Civil War.

    Tony Horowitz has had a fascination with the Civil War. His earlier book, Confederates in the Attic, explored this topic, and Midnight Rising continues this exploration. His writing style is fluid and entertaining and the reader is educated without feeling that he is lectured to. This book is recommended for history readers and those interested in the Civil War and the events leading up to it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Most people that have a decent knowledge of American History hav

    Most people that have a decent knowledge of American History have heard of John Brown but most don't know the real John Brown. This was a great book which I highly recommend to anyone that has a passing interest in the civil war era. Very readable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Really great insight on such a polarizing American figure

    I attended an event in Lawrence, KS about this book. Tony spoke about it and really got me excited to read it. After purchasing I quickly read and enjoyed it. Great research, a well thought-out book, and has raised my interest in other Civil War books. Highly recommend.

    Cheers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 20, 2013

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    Posted December 12, 2011

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    Posted November 2, 2012

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    Posted January 26, 2013

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